I just got off the phone with a client. She wants to know if she should buy now or wait until this whole “COVID thing” is a “past thing.” Here’s my answer, “It all depends.” How’s that for real estate advice? Seriously, buying real estate is never easy. It’s a huge investment with many moving parts. Even under the best of circumstances, navigating a home purchase and a real estate transaction is challenging. So what about now? During COVID? Let’s just say it’s still challenging, though definitely doable. Rather than tell my client what to do (it’s her decision, not mine), we talked. We talked process. Market. Predictions. Predictions by economists who analyze data for a living. Economists who have much more expertise in the matter than I do. We looked at her individual needs and her specific time table. We dialed the decision down as much as possible, but even so, there were still some unanswered questions. Concerns. Risks. And therein lies the conundrum.
Benefits of Buying Real Estate During COVID-19
On the one hand, Buyers are benefiting from historically low interest rates. Yesterday, we got a quote at 2.5%. Yes, you heard me correctly. If nothing else, if she buys now, she’ll be buying at a historically low interest rate. One we may never see again. Her employment is secure — another plus. And, of course, the biggest plus – the ability to live in and enjoy her own home.
Risks of Buying Real Estate During COVID-19
But, will she be paying too much? If the market spirals downward due to a faltering economy, will she regret her decision? What if prices come down? Will there be better, more attractive opportunities in 3 months, 6 months, a year from now?
A Real Estate Conundrum
Again, it’s a conundrum — a confusing and difficult question. And, it’s a confusing decision, not just for my client, but perhaps for you. So, here’s my advice. Gather all the facts you can. Get good counsel. Speak to your Realtor and your financial and tax advisors. And then, make a decision. Accept that no decision is perfect. Whether you buy now or later, there will be advantages and disadvantages. There are no guarantees. But, also know that over time, most real estate investments work out. Often really well in Hawaii.
I feel for my client. I can sense the tension this is causing her. The tension is totally understandable, and frankly, it’s not necessarily bad. After all, tension can help us to make decisions that lead to a better, happier life. But, prolonged tension can take its toll on you and your body. At some point, a decision has to be made, and we have to learn to accept and live with that decision. Conundrum or not, deciding to buy (or not to buy) is like everything else in life. A choice. So, make the best choice you can with what you know now and move forward.
If we’ve learned anything with COVID, it’s that life is precious. Too precious for regrets.